OCEAN Network Express is launching a trial of containerised wind propulsion devices.

The autonomous wind-assist units are based on 40-foot containers. They are designed for use on general cargo vessels, tankers and other vessels with room for one or two 40-foot containers.

The 1036 TEU feeder Kalamazoo will be the subject of the trial. The vessel is owned by NORSE UK and operated by Goodwood Ship Management, Singapore.

Dutch maritime wind technology company Econowind developed the so-called VentoFoil wind devices.

The devices resemble airplane wings and are designed to harness wind energy.

ONE and Econowind expect the devices to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The companies are partnering for the trial following a successful factory test of the device.

ONE managing director Hiroki Tsujii said ONE was committed to minimising environmental impact and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

 “This trial with Econowind is an important step forward in our efforts to explore innovative and sustainable solutions for the maritime industry,” he said.

Each VentoFoil is equipped with smart suction systems designed to optimise airflow and maximise thrust.

They have the potential to generate up to 400 kilowatts of power, reducing fuel consumption by 5%.

The devices are fully automatic, adjust for wind speed and direction, and can be started from the ship bridge.

The trial is scheduled to begin in January 2024 and run for about six months.

ONE plans to monitor the devices and collect data on fuel consumption, emissions reductions, and overall operational efficiency.

The results of the trial would be used to assess the long-term viability of wind propulsion for sustainable shipping.